This post was written by Mark Fried, Policy Coordinator at Oxfam Canada
Week one of the global online debate on the Future of Agriculture saw a lot of traffic: the highest ever this year on the Oxfam International website. Roger Thurow, a US-based journalist summed up last week’s discussion as “Risk, aspirations and the goodness of agriculture.” Comments on all essays of the first week are still very welcome. Today we continue into the second week starting with three essays about Food sovereignty, business and land rights by NGO leaders and a business leader.
The authors of today focus in on the importance of clear property rights and secure access to land by small-scale farmers and indigenous peoples. Niasse of the International Land Coalition argues that increasing better and more secure access to land by women could increase productivity from twenty to thirty percent. But will this alone sufficiently assist in creating the markets, infrastructure, and technological support for small-scale agriculture?
Poelma of Cargill recognizes the need for clearly defined land tenure rules, as well as for increased education, and modern farming techniques. But does he acknowledge the incremental steps necessary in the future to move toward these goals, or the role of agricultural diversification in nutrition, risk management, and soil health within smaller agrarian communities?
Rivera of the Centro de culturas indigenas del Peru proposes a future for Peruvian indigenous peoples that she aligns with the concept of food sovereignty, based on indigenous knowledge, which gives control to indigenous peoples to produce and market what they choose. Do you agree?